If Hillary Clinton is elected in 2008 (and at this moment, she is the most likely person to be the forty-fourth president of the United States--see Part I), America will endure; perhaps, we will even prosper.

Why it's probably going to be okay: What do I mean by "okay"? I mean we will be fine; she will be fine.

A personal aside: A few months back, in two separate off-line discussions on the same issue, I got on the wrong side of my friends, and Bosque Boys regulars, Gossenius and "Tocqueville" (quite a feat; they do not agree on much). I rendered them incredulous arguing that Harriet Miers would "be fine" as a Supreme Court justice (they both argued that she was unqualified).

Gossenius, especially, properly demanded that I explain my statement. At the time, I was at a loss to articulate what I knew in my soul: it does not take a legal genius to serve on the Supreme Court. Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are great legal minds, and they advocate brilliantly for their positions. But are they good jurists? Are they honest triers of fact? Or are they merely brilliant proponents of their particular political philosophies. Harriet would have been fine.

I am just enough of a "Jacksonian Democrat" to be increasingly convinced that common sense and integrity are more important qualities in leadership than ideology or conspicuous intelligence. It does not take an Ivy League-educated intellectual to serve as president of the United States. In fact, some of our least successful presidents have been geniuses (Herbert Hoover & JQ Adams, for example).

John Kerry would have been fine. Al Gore: fine. George Bush: fine. Mrs. Clinton will be fine, for she is a dedicated public servant who wants America to prosper and succeed. The presidency will test her, torment her and age her, but it will also demand her very best. I have a whole list of disagreements with Mrs. Clinton, but just like all of her predecessors, she will summon the total of her inner strength and the best elements of her personality to meet the awesome challenges of the office.

More importantly, our nation has the innate capacity to overcome mediocre leaders. Writing in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville observed: "the great advantage of the Americans consists in their [ability] to commit faults which they may afterwards repair." As a corollary, he wrote: "American democracy frequently errs in the choice of the individuals to whom it entrusts the power of the administration; but...the state prospers under their rule."

Why does American democracy prosper in spite of inferior leadership? Tocqueville offered three reasons: 1) the people are vigilant and jealous of their rights; 2) leaders are in power for relatively short periods of time; and, most importantly, 3) the interest of the leaders are more likely to be subsumed in the interest of the people. While aristocratic (or elite) "magistrates" might offer more sterling talents and virtues individually, there is "a secret tendency in democratic institutions that [works toward the good] of the community in spite of their vices and mistakes." Ironically, Tocqueville argues, "in aristocratic governments public men may frequently do harm without intending it; and in democratic states they bring about good results of which they have never thought."

Political passions tend to blind us to the good in American public servants. Looking back over American history, we do not see a pattern of good versus evil (although the partisans of the day certainly cast the contests in that light). The battles between Hamilton and Jefferson were fought on those terms, but we now see that Hamilton and Jefferson both were earnest in their love of country and both essential to our success. The same can be said for Jackson and Clay or McKinley and Bryan. Some Americans live long enough to participate on both sides of the divide. Ronald Reagan began his adulthood as a New Deal Democrat and adherent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but he lived to lead a counter-revolution that bears his name. In truth, he was right both times.

America perseveres.